'Dancing With the Stars': Maks is back!

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Image Credit: ABC

Former pro and current scruff-less stranger Maksim “This Is My Show” Chmerkovskiy returned to the ballroom to guest-judge tonight’s season 17 semifinals. The stage directors wisely nestled Maks’ prize-winning buns between between Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, allowing for prime reaction shots to Grumpy and Dopey along with minimal splash-annoyance from Weepy (Carrie Ann Inaba) two seats away.

See a collection of Maks’ best visual moments below….

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In truth, this roundup could be just hundreds of similar shots of Maks gazing incredulously at Bruno. Their steadily amusing rapport kicked off swimmingly when, as pictured above, Tom Bergeron claimed Maks wasn’t wearing pants and Bruno helpfully got up to “check.”

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An ear scratch a day keeps the crazy away.

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Bruno just told Bill Engvall he looked “splendid in polyester.”

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Loved the bow tie, by the way.

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“Any chance I have to touch him!” Bruno cried, defending himself (against nobody) for using Leah and Tony’s “sensual and intimate” Argentine tango as his latest excuse to rub up on Maks.

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What a dodge! You can really see why Maks is such a pro as he avoids Bruno’s most treacherous flourish of the night. Beautiful lines!

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Moob grab?

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“This is MY dance space; this is YOUR dance space.”

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Bruno wasn’t Maks’ only unruly seatmate, though. During a rousing rendition of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It,” it was Len threatening to strip next to him instead.

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Apparently Maks didn’t agree that Jack Osbourne’s jazz routine lacked a bit of finesse.

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At one point, the head judge’s intensity-fueled comments even demanded Len’s own signature snap-back…performed by Maks!

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Oh, well, what can you do?

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Hidden gem: Maks held up a ’10′ paddle following brother Val Chmerkovskiy’s bumper intro with Witney Carson.

Overall, Chmerkovskiy played the part of nice judge — “I personally don’t believe in talent; I believe in hard work,” he told invincible everyman Bill Engvall — and stood up for his fellow pros. He complimented his buddy Tony as “one of the best technicians in the business” and called his former fiancée (for some reason the show decided to mention this twice) Karina Smirnoff one of the top five best female dancers of all time.

“I can overlook the fact that your butt was sticking out a bit,” he told Corbin Bleu post-tango. “I had a similar issue.”

Some of his opinions tended to match Carrie Ann’s to a “disturbing” degree, Maks said, though he made sure to differentiate between a Carrie Ann ’8′ and a Maks ’8′ following Leah Remini’s Argentine tango. (The distinction is not clear.) His biggest deviation from the judges’ scores came when Maks gave a 9 to Amber Riley and Derek Hough’s jazz routine. It was their only non-10 score of the night.

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“We are NOT the same person!” Maks la-la-la’ed re: a similar critique to Inaba’s.

What did YOU think of Sex on a Stick as a guest judge?

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Monday’s semifinal results: And the eliminated couple is…

Bonus: I chatted with DWTS showrunner Conrad Green about the difficulty of downsizing the show to one night a week. Click here to read his thoughts on less-than-ideal voting, the judges’ eternal dilemma, and the future of the series.

Discuss tonight’s Dancing With the Stars here, and stay tuned for my full episode recap….

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